UNITY OF MINISTERS
“Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are”. (John 17:11)
Those who recognize the work of grace in their own lives celebrate the grace of God in other ministers despite such minister’s weaknesses.
When Peter and John were going into the temple at the hour of prayer, the crippled man at the gate of the temple expected to receive alms from them. The Bible tells us that Peter looked at the man and said “LOOK AT US”. Acts 3:4. Why didn’t he say look at me, since he was led to do the miracle? This was the first miracle of the Apostles – it was a joint effort. When God wanted to create man, He said “Let US make man in our image” Gen. 1:26. The “US” factor is needed to do exploits that will deliver the world to the Kingdom, because man is a product of “US”.
Ministers, let’s not try to get the world focus on us individually, and thereby frustrate the advancement of the kingdom. If God could say “Let US….” at the beginning and Peter had to say “Look on us…” at the beginning, for the sake of the gospel, then, “Let us…”
Unity of ministers is needed for unity of the Church; hence Jesus first prayed for the unity of the Apostles first in John 17:11 before praying for the unity of all those who will later believe in Him through the disciples John 17:20-23.
Ministers who facilitate unity of the Body of Christ irrespective of doctrinal differences touch the heart of God, because that was the purpose for which the blood was shed to bring together the Jews who never saw eye to eye with the Gentiles. Eph. 2:13-16
MOVES FOR RECONCILIATION.
Who makes the move for reconciliation?
- It is not and will never be about age (who is older). If it was, the Ancient of Days would not have come down to reconcile with us.
- It is not about who is the head. If it was, the Head of the Church would not have laid down His life to reconcile us.
- It is not about who is right, if it was, the sinless Christ would not have come down to initiate reconciliation.
- It is not about who is richer, if it was, the owner of all diamond, silver and gold on earth would not have initiated reconciliation.
- It is not about who is wise, if it was, the one whose foolishness is wiser than the wisest man would not have come down to initiate reconciliation.
Therefore, paying high cognizance to the above insights initiate reconciliation today; for the night is coming when it will be forever impossible to do so (John 9:4).
The litmus test for who is a minister of God is his or her desire to reconcile and restore relationship when offended because God entrusts the ministry of reconciliation to all those He calls (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
RECONCILIATION DRAMA OF TWO PASTORS IN ONITSHA, S/E NIGERIA- LIVE STORY
10:00AM, NOV. 13, 2011
While in my bedroom, I watched a pastor on Cable TV preach a sound message. When the programme was over, I called him on one of the telephone lines displayed on the screen. I encouraged him to continue in the truth he was preaching. I didn’t really introduce myself; but shortly after, he got our magazines. Then he called to appreciate what God is doing through our ministry.
One morning later, I heard that same pastor’s name ring in my ears. Then I wondered why, because we were not really communicating. After about three hours my phone rang and behold he was the person calling and I was greatly amazed. This is like what happened in Acts 10:17, when Peter had a vision in connection with what he had to do in Cornelius’ household.
I picked the phone and he said while he was praying the Holy Spirit told him to invite me to speak at his Church’s convention. I said ‘Okay!’ I had to consent immediately. Again, this was in line with Acts 10:20 when Peter was told to go immediately.
Yes! While we insist that those inviting us must give us one year, six months, etc, notice, we should be aware that some of the greatest moves of the Holy Spirit may be by invitations of just one week, one day or even an hour’s notice. I knew the Lord had gone ahead of him to reach me for him.
I arrived Onitsha Saturday night, November 12, 2011. At about 9:30am Sunday morning, the 13th of November, I was picked up from my hotel to the church. When I arrived at the car park, I noticed another church meeting in the same building. My host uses the second floor, while the other church is on the third floor. As I was being led upstairs my spirit sensed a tensed atmosphere and the Holy Spirit said to me; “Both pastors in this building are supposed to be one but they are divided.”
Here is my insight! The Father cannot use the Church to sweep the world clean unless we swallow our differences and let Him bond us as one broom.
“…I will make them into ONE stick and they will be ONE in my hand” Ezek. 37:19
When I got to the Church; though everyone was happy that I came, I suddenly became sad, to the point that I was holding back tears from flowing down my eyes. The Lord said to me that those two pastors were not at peace with each other and their members just had to stick with their leaders. Then He said ‘Don’t preach on this alter unless you first go upstairs to the other church, to greet the pastor’.
So, when the choir were to sing before I mounted the podium, I called my host pastor aside and said to him: ‘Let’s go up to the other church’.
He then asked: ‘what for?’
I said; “I wanted to go and greet the pastor there.”
Then he said: “But sir, they are in service.”
I replied: “I know. When I get there I will bow and greet and turn back.”
Those who want to actually advance the kingdom must bow even to those they consider juniors. Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took the nature of a servant (Phil. 2:7) in order to please the Father who sent Him and advance the kingdom. For a while, he obeyed men that He created.
Paul made himself a servant to all men so that he could advance the kingdom. Genuine leaders don’t find it difficult to bow inspite of their exalted positions; just for kingdom sake. Most leaders must realize that Jesus bent down to lift us up, because he had no inferiority complex. Jesus’ words that we become servants has no meaning to most of our present leaders hence we do not experience heaven’s results.
We went upstairs, but I never knew my host pastor felt bad about my moves but hid it from me until he confessed it openly later.
When we got upstairs, an usher told us to wait at the door and we did.
My host pastor complained that time was being spent and so we should return; but I said ‘No’. Then another man opened the way for us and the third floor pastor saw us and took us into a nearby office.
The congregation must have wondered what was happening, to see this other pastor in their church.
Then the Holy Spirit said a few words through me that, in all honesty, I can’t even remember today. I held the two pastors warmly and we all embraced. Then suddenly, both of them embraced. The second pastor escorted us until I begged him to return to church to continue service.
When we arrived back at the church of my host pastor, he took the microphone and proclaimed to his members;
‘It’s over!’ ‘It’s over!!’ ‘It’s over!!!’
I had been the actor, but at that point, I became a spectator. He began to speak to the congregation. To my surprise, my host pastor said: “I and the pastor upstairs have hugged each other; for the first time in about six years.”
I sat up as I was amazed at what I was hearing. He declared without any reservation: “If Christ came yesterday, I would have gone to hell.” I was broken by his humility.
He confessed openly that when I said we should go up to that pastor, he felt like putting an end to his convention so that I can go back home.
Then the church went wild in a shout.
The pastor’s wife instantly went on her knees. Some elders were on the floor praising God.
- What unfeigned joy welled up in the hearts of those followers of the pastor!
- What unrehearsed and unrestrained jubilation!
- What a grand, heart-warming spectacle to behold!
The Holy Spirit resolved in a minute, a matter that had been hanging for years. It’s now their duty to work out their salvation.
The most interesting aspect of the whole drama is that no one narrated stories to me. I didn’t know what had happened between those ministers; even till now, years after, as I write.
I was informed later that many senior ministers had tried to resolve the issues; to no avail.
That is the grace of God. Halleluyah!
My host pastor shouted to his congregation that “Satan has lost the battle”.
After he finished speaking, I was introduced to preach, and the Spirit led me to preach on a title:
“Switch On The Light”
Watch out for more stories soon
I enjoy no greater joy than to see the positive effect of my contribution as a prayer and financial partner with Ministers Alive vision, when I read of how ministers forgive and reconcile with each other.
Pastor Aziba Austin
Senior Pastor, CLBC
Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria